Pollster: The Presidential Primary in Detroit is A Good Predictor of Biden's Challenges Nationwide in November

March 06, 2024, 3:30 PM


A Lansing-pollster says the Feb. 27 presidential primary in Detroit is a predictor of the challenges President Joe Biden faces nationwide in November: Solid support from people of color, but a low turnout of that voter block.

Of the 509,928 registered voters in Detroit, only 62,868 or 12.3 percent voted in the primary.

"The good news is that Joe Biden has strong support among Blacks and people of color, and they're not ready to jump ship for Trump," says Ed Sarpolus, executive director of Target Insyght of Lansing. "The bad news is the low turnout. Biden needs every person of color to turn out and vote in November."

He said the Democratic Party has to be more aggressive about engaging with people of color and generating more enthusiasm for the November election.  

Biden got 86.6 percent, or 50,863 of the Democratic primary votes in Detroit while the uncommitted accounted for 8.7 percent or 5,145 of the votes. Trump got 59.81 percent, or 2,490 of the Republican votes while Nikki Haley got 29.69 percent or 1,236 votes. Registered voters in the primarly must vote for someone running in their party.  

Overall, Biden got 80.9 percent of the total Detroit votes compared to Trump's 4 percent. 

According to the latest U.S. Census figures, Blacks comprise 77.8 percent of the city's 620,000 residents while Whites make up 12 percent, and Hispanics, 7.5 percent. 

In 2020, in the general election, Biden got nearly 94 percent of the overall vote in Detroit compared to Trump's 5 percent. 

Trump has predicted he'll get far more of the Black vote around the country this time around. In 2016, he got 8 percent in the nation compared to 12 percent in 2020.

Some have suggested Trump has put out a high-top gym shoe and tshirts aimed at generating more Black support.   

While trying to court Black voters, he's at times offended them. 

Late last month, he delivered what some saw as an offensive remarks at the Black Conservative Federation's annual gala in South Carolina where he received the "Champion of Black America" award.

"I’m being indicted for you, the American people. I’m being indicted for you, the Black population. I am being indicted for a lot of different groups by sick people, these are sick, sick people. 

"My mug shot — we’ve all seen the mug shot, and you know who embraced it more than anybody else? The Black population. You see Black people walking around with my mug shot, you know, they do shirts and they sell them for $19 apiece. It’s pretty amazing — millions by the way."

Sarpolus said Biden needs to work on winning back the Democratic uncommitted vote in the primary, which he compares to the Bernie Sanders, anti-Hillary Clinton vote in the 2016 Michigan primary. 

Trump won Michigan in 2016 by 10,704 votes. In 2020, he lost to Biden by about 154,000 votes.

Sarpolus said he expects the presidential race in November to be close.


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